Easy-to-Use “Accordion” Program Finder at Roger Williams University
Potential students rank learning about programs offered as the first or second Top Task they want to complete at a website. (For some, “cost” is first.)
Roger Williams University makes this task easier to complete on its academic programs page by using an “accordion” style page design. Visitors get basic information about a program without having to leave the page. Just click on the program name to get an initial review. Interested in comparing the basics for more than one program? Biology, for instance, and Biotechnology. You can open as many as you want without closing the others already opened.
From that point, potential students can move along to more details about each program. Marketing note: that program page is a great place to link to outcomes data about each program. RW didn’t have that for the programs I visited. Neither do most colleges and universities.
The accordion feature as used here follows guidelines from the Nielsen Norman Group usability report. You’ll find more details on this feature at “Accordions on Desktop: When and How to Use.”
A marketing note…
There’s a small amount of marketing text as the page opens. On some program pages this is standard marketing boiler plate that might fit anywhere. RW makes this relevant by noting (in digits, not words) the number of programs available. A nice “writing right for the web” feature. Put the same info in words and most people will skip right over the text on their way to complete the task that brought them to the page.
Follow the Link of the Week…
Experience how accordion design makes Roger Williams University academic programs easy to review at the “Majors & Minors” page.
Speed on mobile… 2.9 seconds to first view, 7.7 seconds to full interactivity
Google PageSpeed Insights measures the time to first view of the Roger Williams program finder page on a mobile phone at a fast 2.9 seconds. Time to full interactivity, compared to nearly all higher education sites, was OK but not great at 7.7 seconds.
Website Carbon Calculator… not so clean
Thanks to Gerry McGovern and his efforts to reduce “world wide waste” for the referral.
This Roger Williams page is “dirtier than 50% of web pages tested.”
Does your website help or hurt the climate? Test your website pages at “Website Carbon Calculator.”
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